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Questions Parents Should Ask About Kids’ Online Safety

The access to any kind of information is not a problem today. Amid all these info flaws the thing is to ask right questions, especially if it comes down to children’s safety online. So below are the questions parents should raise about kids’ online security and obviously effective parental controls.

How do I know my child will be safe online?

You cannot know for 100%. “30% of the Internet industry is pornography”, Stephen Yagielowicz, “The Internet Really is Porn”. That means the whole industry is designed to send some filthy stuff to your kid.

As a parent, you can make a deal with your kid about using the Internet at home as well as at school. Establish home rules. Map out time spent for home work, school projects, and for fun and entertainment. You have to know what clips, videos, TV shows, etc. they are going to watch. You may look through YouTube watch history and a list of suggestions it provides. By the way, the list will give you some insights about your kid’s inclinations since it learns customers’ tastes and suggests similar material.

Of course, the safest way is using parental controls like mSpy because they allow parents to be aware not just of kids’ online activity but of further movements after online hits.

(Find out how to set parental controls on Samsung tablet or smart phone; e.g. Samsung Galaxy S6/S7)

  1. How can I help maintain my child’s privacy?

72 % of Americans think their accounts are secure with only usernames and passwords. However, every 2 seconds there is another victim of identity fraud. Thus, usernames and passwords are not enough to secure accounts.

Yet, this is basics about online safety. First of all, you have to know how identify divulgation works. Please, read “How do predators identify real people” and “What are the results?” to get to know how practically online abusers find people’s real information. Then, find your way (according to the kid’s age) of explaining this.

Unpredictable login and password are primary for privacy. Also, it would be great to follow Privacy settings provided on every social media.

There are multiple ways to ensure privacy, the idea is to communicate its necessity to a child.

  1. Is there a way for me to check on their online behavior?

You may look through:

  • the history of a search engine
  • YouTube watch history and the list of suggested material
  • Cookies history

But! Here’s the thing:  

  • About 50% of teens confess hiding their online activity from parents
  • 46% of teens have cleared their search history and/or cookies on their browser
  • 1 in 5 teens have used a private browsing feature so their parents can’t see the sites they’ve hit (Info provided by “Enough is enough”)

So the most effective way is to use a parental control (Find out how to set parental controls on Samsung tablet or smart phone; e.g. Samsung Galaxy S6/S7). It allows parents to monitor online activity (social media, sites) unpredictably for a kid and, if needed, block a private browsing feature.

  1. How can I catch up with my kid in all those tech things?

You can catch up with your tech-savvy kid if you:

  • Get to know what exactly they are searching for in technology (attractions, desires, and interests). Do they like live hacks about crafting or parkour running (which is dangerous, by the way), etc.?
  • Become an ally, not an enemy. You need to do your homework and find videos, programs, etc. on exactly the same topics. Watch them and make sure they are safe, funny, and entertaining. Then suggest them to your kid.
  • Watch or explore tech things together.
  • Be in advance. Subscribe to relevant digital journals to be aware of what’s going on in the industry. Pick the safest app, game, or site and again suggest to a kid.
  • Explore the game industry. This is a big part of kids’ life. Kids will definitely play computer games but you can make it a safe process.
  • Use additional features of parental controls which might seem funny and entertaining for a kid (Find out how to set parental controls on Samsung tablet or smart phone; e.g. Samsung Galaxy S6/S7).
  1. Should I give my child my own device or mobile phone?

Yes, you should. Guess why?

Because trust is everything in relationships, especially between parents and teens. First, comes trust, then sort of control (just because kids at a certain age do not know what’s good and what’s bad for them). Besides, you can always have a look at what they did with your phone.

  1. What is the best age to buy the first smartphone for my child?

Sometimes parents are tired of handing their smartphones to their kids, so they simply buy another one for a kid. So there’s no magic number in terms of age.

However, CEO of the NGO Common Sense Media, James P. Steyer is quite strict about his family’s rules: first, kids have to learn limits and get skills of a physical communication. So they give their children a smartphone when they start high school.

Safety experts say the age might be 12 or 14. The later you give a smartphone, the better. Parents should consider that phones serve as a distraction trigger and make kids open to the Internet risks, such as cyber bullying, online predators, sexting, etc.  Are you sure you want your kids to be exposed to a certain information at this very age? If not, go play outside together and forget about smartphones for a couple of years.

  1. How can I track what my child is doing online?

There are many options of tracking your kid’s online activity. But not all of them are reliable and effective because kids may “fix” something. The best option for you is to take lead in this process. Use a parental control to track sites, apps, social media, chatting, texting, hits, etc. You may filter, limit, or block internet browsing. Discover a range of options a parental control provides to be fully aware of your kid’s online behavior. (Find out how to set parental controls on Samsung tablet or smart phone; e.g. Samsung Galaxy S6/S7).

  1. Is there a way to prevent all those online dangers people are talking about?

Absolutely. Actually, there are multiple ways. First, parents should know what they are and their signs. Also, there are many experts in the field but we’d rather recommend those who are good at Education Science because this is about child psychology and pedagogy. This is a complex issue, thus, the approach must be so.

Moreover, find out a checklist of signs (which varies for extraverts and introverts, by the way) to identify if your kid is “hooked”.

Second, talk to your kid. Try to build relationships of trust and love so they can open up. Your kid can let you into. Be careful to step in wisely. Again, let it be girls or boys talk than parents and offsprings one.

Third, a parental control comes in handy. For example, cyber bullying comes from texting and chatting on sites or social media. You can always monitor all those things and block people there or the resource itself. Interaction with online predators comes the same way. Again, you can always intervene and influence the process. The same way works for sexting.  At least, being aware before something bad happens is a great job.

  1. Should I set strict rules on smartphone usage?

If the age is enough, then yes, you should. See, smartphones distract kids from school responsibilities and home routines. As a result, they encourage laziness, irresponsibility, unaccountability and raise exposure risks. The Internet is forever, which means once the info flew away, it will never be the kid’s property anymore.

Besides, scientists say smartphones hurt the mental health and psychological state of children.

However, you cannot set strict rules for a teen.  You can, of course, but it will cause a side effect: they will find other ways to use it. Meanwhile, your relationships of trust are going to break. A dialogue is a way out of this.

  1. How to prevent texting and driving?

Find out statistics about texting and driving as a cause of car accidents and even deaths. Explain how it all happened and what were the results (kids without moms and dads, broken lives for sportsmen, etc.).

If you know the exact time when your kid is heading to school and back, you may block messaging apps and sites via a parental control. But again, first, talk.

  1. Is there a list of good apps my child can play?

Actually, a responsible parent should make a research and pick among thousands the best apps for fun and education. Usually, they are super colorful and have ridiculous characters. For example, there are apps for developing math skills. Also, you may find apps by interests: apps on history events, geographical facts, space or dinosaurs. Every parent should do a research to pick the most convenient app before suggesting them to a child.

However, a useful app can become a distraction if used extra time at the expense of sleep, school, or family get-together. In this case, you cannot take it back. But you can limit their usage or block via a parental control.

  1. What is the best approach when dealing with smartphone addiction?

Addiction means using something more than supposed to. This is a complex question because kid’s body and psyche are involved. It’s not just a physical action, it’s an emotional element which leads to addiction.

There are different levels of addiction. We cannot substitute a doctor or an expert in the field. But if the situation is light, you may step in.

First, you need to find out a worthy alternative. It has to be something as interesting and attractive as spending time on the app. You know your kid in order to have a clue on what it could be. Let it be horse riding, swimming together, etc.

Find out the behavior pattern to break the cycle. For example, if your kid starts using the app right after school and you know exactly the time, refocus them by suggesting doing something different together. See, using an app became a habit. It must be broken. As long as the habit has been acquired, as long it has to be substituted with something different. Make sure, it will attract a kid on a constant basis.

No one forbade talk.  So before doing all this stuff, talk to your kid and explain why you think his using the app is abnormal and why you’re going to restrict it. Explain the consequences of an addictive app usage (sight getting dim, brain damage, etc.). After that, use a parental control to remove a physical harm.

 

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